Wellness programs that support your employees are common sense and good for business
By Jumol Royes
Wellness is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot these days.
The focus tends to be more on self – think personal resolutions, goal setting and visions boards – but we should be thinking about wellness in the workplace, too.
Canadians spend a significant chuck of their time working – from home, in the office or in hybrid roles. On average, 37 hours per week. All of those hours spent at work have a direct impact on employee well-being.
Over one in four Canadian workers reported being highly stressed, according to a Statistics Canada survey, with work identified as the primary source of that stress.
Factor in pandemics, protests, quiet quitting and the Great Resignation, and there’s no shortage of reasons why you should consider creating a wellness program that supports the overall health and wellness of your employees, if you haven’t done so already.
It’s common sense and good for business.
A 2020 Benefits Canada survey found that 63 per cent of Canadian employers are investing or plan to invest in ensuring the well-being of their workforce post-pandemic.
So, what exactly does a wellness program at work look like?
A corporate wellness program, also known as an employee wellness program, is any program that aims to improve, promote and support the health and fitness of employees while fostering a healthy workplace culture. Examples of wellness programs in the workplace include fitness, meditation and yoga classes, mental health first aid training, employee assistance plans and wellness challenges.
Our Elevate Media Group collective recently completed a 30-day group wellness challenge where we each chose one or more goals to focus on (like better sleep, increased hydration and more movement). We posted our goals in the group chat, and then shared daily updates to hold each other accountable.
To help your brand or business get in the wellness state of mind, we’ve put together our top five reasons why wellness in the workplace is important.
Boosts team morale
A wellness program can help enhance team morale by making your team members feel supported in achieving their health and wellness goals. When your employees are encouraged and empowered to show up as the best possible version of themselves, and know that you value them as human beings, not just productivity machines, they’re more likely to feel like they truly belong and bring a can-do attitude to their jobs. Wellness programs can also inject a double dose of fun and joy into a monotonous workday, which in turn leads to increased creativity and innovation.
Good for body, mind and soul
Supporting the health and well-being of your staff through wellness programs that help them develop healthy behaviours has a positive ripple effect in the workplace. A group fitness class can leave your employees feeling refreshed, energized and ready to dive into a new project. A midday mindfulness session can provide a feeling of calm and a sense of clarity needed to focus on critical work tasks. Access to mental health supports can help employees better navigate symptoms of anxiety and depression, allowing them to feel more confident in their roles. When your employees feel good in body, mind and soul, they’re more motivated to put their best foot forward.
Engaged employees = loyal employees
Creating an organizational culture that prioritizes wellness is a key ingredient in fostering deeper employee engagement. Wellness programs can strengthen the bond between your team members by making them feel more connected to their work, and each other. Activities like wellness challenges and team retreats offer opportunities for your employees to connect on a deeper and more meaningful level. Engaged employees translates to employees who are loyal to your organization. But don’t forget; it starts at the top. Senior leadership should set the tone and model what wellness in the workplace looks like.
It’s no secret that life is stressful sometimes. That stress often comes from all directions: partners, kids, family, friends, finances, reading the news and doom scrolling on social media are just a few sources of stress that come to mind. Workplace stress is also very common. A wellness program can teach your team techniques to help them manage stress in the workplace that, when left unchecked, can lead to absenteeism, illness and reduced productivity. Research shows that lower stress levels are linked with improved heart health, mental health, mood, sleep and more. Reducing workplace stress results in healthier employees that have the tools they need to perform at their best.
Appeals to new talent
Job candidates are a savvy bunch, and it takes more than a six-figure salary to attract top talent these days. Potential candidates are seeking out companies that are invested in the health and well-being of their employees and committed to fostering work-life balance. If you’re looking to attract and retain new talent, having a well thought out and executed wellness program can make all the difference. Wellness benefits like bike sharing and public transit incentives, employee assistance programs, healthy lunch and snack programs, nap rooms and on-site fitness programs or gym membership reimbursement are examples of benefits to consider including in your compensation package.
What are some of the most popular wellness programs at your organization, and what make them fan favourites among your employees? Please share in the comments below!